Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) cook and caretaker Rose Ramirez, who was well known for the amazing care she provided for the students in training, recently retired after working at GDB's San Rafael campus for over 22 years. From grocery shopping and cooking delicious meals to learning each student's individual needs and giving gentle pats on the back, Rose proved to be an integral part of the heart and soul of GDB.
GDB Support Center generalist Ken Altenburger has known Rose for over 17 years. “I can honestly say that she is one of the treasures of GDB,” said Ken. “I have been on the receiving end of her care and kindness from a client's perspective and I also enjoyed working alongside her as a fellow staff member. Rose always greeted you with a warm smile and it was clear that she cared very deeply for the students in each class – she worked tirelessly for the benefit of anyone needing assistance.”
Rose moved to the United States from Mexico as a young adult and learned to cook at her brother's restaurant in Martinez, CA for 15 years before coming to GDB. Rose said she served the students in the best way she knew how in order to make sure they had everything they needed, even if it is small. “Rose is so thoughtful and always remembered everything about you,” said GDB graduate Keith Breaux. “I truly appreciated the way she took care of me during my stay. I will always remember her as being one of the best parts about coming to GDB for training.”
From the students and instructors to the nurses and the rest of the GDB staff, Rose was someone who always made everyone feel welcome. “I was very lucky to work at GDB,” said Rose. “One of my main goals while I was at GDB was to make sure the students were as comfortable as possible. I wanted to make sure it felt like a warm home when they came for training.”
While it can be exciting for students to work with a new partner, there is also the reality of being away from home and family, meeting and working with new people and participating in a comprehensive training experience. “Having the support of someone as warm and caring as Rose took any stress that I had away, said GDB graduate Penny Hardin. “Rose showed genuine concern and interest in our well-being and her cooking was amazing! Her friendly smile and encouragement were constant reminders of how much she cared about us. It's clear to me that Rose was a very important part of the GDB team who, along with the instructors and nurses, helped us to be successful every day.”
Over the course of more than two decades, Rose has had a tremendous impact at GDB and she will always be remembered for her incredible and thoughtful work ethic. “Some people talk about wanting to serve – Rose truly does serve, every day of her life,” said Ken.